The reactions that followed the statements made by Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku, show that northerners are treated as sacred cows in this country. This is because since they have been making unguarded statements none of them has been probed but as soon as Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku responded to their inflammatory statements, the House of Representatives instructed the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar to investigate the duo!Not too long ago, in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, Junaid Mohammed advised Jonathan and his advisers to seek a judicial interpretation of his tenure rather than engage in banal war over 2015, which he claim he is yet to decide on. Mohammed had said: “As far as I am concerned there should be no two ways about it. People who made promises must be made to abide by such promises. And even without the promise or deal said to have been entered into by the governors with the president in 2011, an ordinary reading of the constitution at face value will indicate that Jonathan cannot avail himself of another term in 2015 simply because the constitution provides for two terms for anybody notwithstanding whatever the intervening circumstance is”. Junaid Mohammed went further, “If you leave Goodluck Jonathan to be president of Nigeria and you allocate every kobo that comes into the consolidated revenue of Nigeria to him and some of the governors, there would be no development in Nigeria in the next 100 years”.
Also, 79-year-old former governor of Kaduna State, Lawal Kaita, added his voice to northerners who called on Jonathan not to contest in 2015. He warned the president not to venture into the 2015 race when he said, “All I want to say is: I will advise him (Jonathan) not to contest”. Senator Joseph Waku, who called from his abode in Washington DC, USA, warned: “President Jonathan should not even contemplate making any move to contest the 2015 election because such will be dishourable, immoral, satanic and catastrophic”. He added: “Those who are close to the president, if they like him at all should warn him not to do things that can breakup this country and put him on the sad notes of history….”. Now, let us begin to analyze the above statements. First, what section of the 1999 Constitution excludes President Jonathan from contesting for a second term? Are the likes of Junaid Mohammed, Lawal Kaita and Joseph Waku not aware that the Federal High Court, Abuja, has declared that President Jonathan was fit to contest the presidential election in 2015? How will President Jonathan re-election bid lead to the breakup of the country? When former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Olusegun Obasanjo contested for second terms in 1983 and 2003 respectively, did Nigeria breakup? Has President Jonathan declared his intention to contest for a second term in 2015? What if Nigeria breaks up?
The above mentioned inflammatory statements by the named northerners, prompted the reactionary statements of Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku. In reacting to the above provocative statements, Kingsley Kuku, in USA, said that there would be chaos in the country if President Goodluck Jonathan was not re-elected in 2015, while Asari Dokubo also said that Nigeria would not know peace if President Jonathan was not returned for second term. When Junaid Mohammed, Lawal Kaita and Joseph Waku, made their inciting statements, why didn’t the House of Representatives ask the Inspector General of Police to probe them? Are northerners sacred cows or above the law?
I recall, this was how the build up to the 2011 presidential election started. Immediately, President Jonathan indicated his intention to contest the 2011 presidential election, there was stiff opposition from the north against his ambition! Adamu Ciroma, a member of Northern Political Leaders’ Forum (NPLF) stirred the hornet’s net when he said, “The time allocated to the North is eight years, which is equivalent to the time allocated to the South for which Obasanjo served. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died unfortunately. His death has not killed the policy of zoning and rotation”. Does the 1999 Constitution say that if a sitting president dies the vice president who automatically becomes the president should not contest the presidential election? Does the PDP constitution supersede the Nigerian 1999 Constitution? Another venom from the north followed that of Adamu Ciroma when Shehu Sani, a Kaduna based civil right activist said, “President Goodluck Jonathan should not contemplate contesting the 2011 presidential election. Any attempt by him to contest amounts to incitement and a recipe for political instability. Even though rotational presidency is unconstitutional, it has been able to address problems of regional, ethnic, sectional domination and marginalization”. How does an incumbent president serving the term of predecessor seeking election amounts to incitement and a recipe for political instability?
The greatest threat to Presidential Jonathan’s election in 2011, came from Lawal Kaita who said, “The North is determined, if it happens, to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan or any other Southerner who finds his way to the seat of power on the platform of the PDP against the principle of the party’s zoning policy. Anything short of a Northern president is tantamount to stealing our presidency. Jonathan has to go and he will go. Even if he uses incumbency power to get his nomination on the platform of the PDP, he would be frustrated out”. The threat against President Jonathan’s election bid did not stop with Alhaji Lawal Kaita as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said, “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable”. Also, former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), did not hide his feelings toward President Jonathan’s ambition when he said, “There may be no Nigeria. I draw parallel with Somalia so many times (Somalisation of Nigeria). I am scared about that. Somalia, they are one ethnic group, one religion, Islam, but for 18 years, Somalia became so selfish, so corrupt, undisciplined and they have wrecked the country”.
The various inciting statements were not made in vain as they were matched with actions. The threat by the above mentioned northern politicians to make the country ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan was fulfilled with the post election violence that erupted in some parts of the north which led to the death of some members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in some parts of the north and the eventual emergence of the Boko Haram insurgents. But I am perplexed at the call by the House of Representatives on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar to probe Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku over their statements quoted above because when the northern politicians mentioned above made their inflammatory statements, the House of Representatives did not call on the Inspector General of Police to probe them! Why are the members of the House of Representatives asking the IGP to probe Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku over their statements? Why didn’t the House of Representatives ask the IGP to probe Junaid Mohammed, Adamu Ciroma, Lawal Kaita, Atiku Abubakar, Shehu Sani, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) etc over their unguided statements? Are the above mentioned northern politicians who vowed to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan above the law?
Today, the country is facing security challenges and it is at the verge of disintegration yet those who vowed to make the country ungovernable are moving freely but the House of Representatives did not deem it fit to ask the IGP to invite them for questioning rather it called on the IGP to probe Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku! The following questions bother my mind. First, are northerners sacred cows that cannot be questioned or probed? Second, why are the above mentioned northern politicians allowed to move freely when they vowed to make the country ungovernable and the country is presently under potent insurgency? If Nigeria were to be other climes, those who vowed to make the country ungovernable would be on trial by now!
What the statements of Asari Dokubo and Kingsley Kuku imply is that northerners should not oppose President Jonathan re-election bid if he wishes to seek re-election and that Nigerians should be allowed to decide whether to vote for him or not. Why do northerners always oppose the political aspiration of southerners? A northerner scuttled the election of late Chief MKO Abiola and when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was elected president, they came up with Sharia. President Goodluck Jonathan is on the saddle, it is Boko Haram! When Umaru Yar’Adua was the President the north was calm. Is it possible for only northerners to lead Nigeria? What did Nigeria achieve within the 38 years the north led the country? If the north had led the country well, why is Nigeria in a sorry state it is today? What change has the leadership of northerners brought to this country? Is it possible for only northerners to lead Nigeria?
President Jonathan should not be distracted with second term brouhaha when he has not declared his intention to contest or not. If he decides to contest in 2015, he should be allowed to do so because the 1999 Constitution provides for a second term for a sitting president.